Confessions of a Film Junkie: Is “A Serbian Film” actually a Horror version of “Alice in Wonderland”?
By: Brian Cotnoir
It seems like at least once or twice a year on this blog I have to talk about “A Serbian Film”. To this date, it is still the film I’ve received the most requests for to review. I reviewed it back in 2012, I even wrote a retrospect on it last year (before blogger took it down for being “too pornographic”). However, the other day I was watching “A Serbian Film” (again) and I noticed something that I hadn’t noticed in the other times I had watched it: there are a lot of striking similarities between “A Serbian Film” and Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. After making this realization, I began to question why no one had ever noticed this before; then I realized that I must be the only person in North America to have seen this film enough times to notice those similarities.
Now I’ve heard that the story that the whole film is actually supposed to symbolize how the Serbian Government treats its people, but since I am not of Serbian descent, nor have I ever travelled to the country, I could not attest to that claim. However, I did find a quote from the director on-line that proves that this statement is entirely true. Director and co-screenwriter Srdjan Spasojevic said of the controversial violence in the film that “This is a diary of our own molestation by the Serbian Government...It’s about the monolithic power of leaders who hypnotize you to do things you don’t want to do”--‘A Serbian Film’ Shocks Midnight Audiences at SXSW, Eric Kohn, 2010.
|Let's see where he's going with this point|
Getting back to my original point; I think that the film not only draws heavy influence from the Serbian Government, but from “Alice in Wonderland” as well. Most of the similarities I’ve noticed between “A Serbian Film” and “Alice in Wonderland” are between plot and Characters in the both films. In my opinion Milos is Alice. In the film he is a retired Porn Star who is led back to the world of Adult filmmaking by his friend and former co-star Lelja (who I think symbolizes the white rabbit leading Milos/Alice down the rabbit hole). Lelja introduces Milos to Vukmir who is trying to start and “Artistic Pornography Movement” in Serbia. He convinces Milos to take part in this film after promising Milos that he and his family will never have to worry about money again. Milos agrees and the next day is brought to the studio by a bald man wearing sunglasses that we never hear speak in the film.
|This is from "A Serbian Film" Not "Alice in Wonderland"|
|Representing the Tweedles (L & R) and Cheshire Cat (M)|
I believe this bald man with sunglasses represents the Cheshire cat: he randomly appears throughout the film to assist Milos/Alice on their journey; his actions have horrifying consequences that pose a serious threat to the lives of the main characters, He leads Milos to the two cameramen who work for Vukmir, who I believe represent the characters of Tweedledee and Tweedledum. Like Tweedledee and Tweedledum the two cameramen in “A Serbian Film”, are almost identical in appearance and they dress the same. However, unlike the Tweedles, the two cameramen never speak in the film. Also, the Tweedles only playfully tease and annoy Alice, as opposed to the two cameramen who take their torment of the films protagonist to the extreme by doing awful things to Milos like drug & sedate him and then videotape themselves sexually assaulting him...Again, I just wanted to remind those of you who are still reading this that I am trying to convince you that “A Serbian Film” is a Horror version of “Alice in Wonderland”.
|This room in a Serbian Film looks similar to...|
|Tim Burton's 2010 Adaptation of Alice in Wonderland|
Getting back on track, I feel like Milos brother Marko is the Mad Hatter. Marko does a number of crazy and neurotic things in the film, like watch adult films that star his own brother while having sex with another woman, he tortures Lelja in the film (which I believe represents the scene in the film the Mad Hatter torments the White Rabbit by destroying his watch) he lusts after his sister-in-law, he is a corrupt cop and very paranoid. There is a sexy female doctor who works for Vukmir who drugs Milos with what Vukmir describes as “Viagra for Bulls”. I believe she is the March Hare, by giving Milos these drugs it increases his sex drive and fertility, and what animal is associate with fertility the most? Why rabbits of course, and a hare is a type of rabbit. What I think makes Marko and the Sexy Female Doctor the most similar to the Mad Hatter March Hare with the fact that the two of them are both bat sh!t insane. Both Characters do a lot of strange and frightening things to Milos/Alice without any real rhyme or reason, they do it for the sake of pure torment.
And let’s not ignore the fact that Vukmir—the films Antagonist—is clearly the Red Queen/Queen of Hearts. Vukmir, a former child psychologist for the Serbian Government, has to act as the God and Ruler of this film. He instructs all of his cast and crew in the film to wear an ear piece so he can give them instructions on everything he wants them to do. His word is law, and anyone who disregards is severely punished. Case in point, the scene where Vukmir hands a drugged up Milos a machete and instructs him to decapitate a woman he’s having sex with...say what was that famous line that the Queen of Hearts had in the film version of “Alice in Wonderland”??? Oh yeah: “Off with her head!” Coincidence; I think NOT! Not to mention that Vukmir’s desire for blood in his film is similar to the Queen of Hearts desire to have only red roses her garden.
Also, there’s a random room that appears throughout the film that looks very similar to one of the rooms from Tim Burton’s “Alice in Wonderland”—which came out the same year as “A Serbian Film”—and a young girl named Jeca that appears throughout the film dressed as Alice from Alice in Wonderland! If that isn’t enough to convince you that “A Serbian Film” is just a Horror version of “Alice in Wonderland” then I don’t know what else I can tell you to convince you! I wish there was someone else who was as brave and psychotic as myself who could watch this film multiple times and notice their similarities.
|ACTUAL QUOTE FROM THE FILM|